Latka has a taxi problem.
Goodwin: Impeachment trial is the ace up President Trump’s sleeve
Here’s my slam-dunk choice for the Quote of the Year: “I want a trial.”
The President of the United States said that Friday morning, and his title alone would be reason enough to make it the most significant thing said in 2019. But there’s much more to it because Donald Trump’s demand highlights the historically unique set of circumstances he and the nation face in 2020.
As of now, the new year will feature an impeachment trial in the Senate followed by the presidential election. If Trump survives Democrats’ effort to remove him, he would be the first impeached president to face voters again.
Andrew Johnson, impeached in 1868, was later denied his party’s nomination for a second term. Bill Clinton won his second term before he was impeached.
While there’s some skepticism that Trump really wants to put everything on the line over allegations involving his dealings with Ukraine, I’m convinced he’s serious.
I’m also convinced he’s crazy like a fox. Given the flimsy allegations and the unfair, one-party nature of the House process, beating impeachment in the Senate seems close to a sure thing. And doing so would dramatically boost Trump’s chances of getting four more years.
Indeed, it’s probable that as impeachment goes, so goes the election.
Of course, there’s no question Trump would much prefer the House not brand him with the “I” word, but that’s a pipe dream.
If Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Adam Schiff can’t muster 218 votes on a set of articles after five long days of public testimony and hyperbolic assertions that the president is an existential threat to the world, Trump will claim he’s been exonerated. Who could blame him?
Pelosi can’t let that happen, having picked her poison by embracing the whistleblower complaint before she saw the transcript of Trump’s call with the president of Ukraine. Turning back now is not an option, so she’ll beg, bribe and twist the arms of any reluctant Dems to get to 218.
That vote will probably come in December, with a Senate trial starting in January.
There, the president will enjoy all the advantages Schiff denied him in the House’s kangaroo court. Most important, Trump starts with 53 GOP senators in the jury, and with a super-majority of 67 votes required for conviction, Dems need to flip 20 of them. That assumes they can hold all Democrats, which is not certain.
In addition to Trump having home-field advantage, a Senate trial, presided over by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, would be expected to follow federal rules on evidence and procedures.
One clear change from the House: no hearsay testimony. Thus, much of what passed for evidence there — and spurred the most sensational headlines — would not be permitted in the Senate.
For another, Trump’s lawyers would have wide latitude in a witness list and would use it to turn the tables on Democrats, the resistance and the Bidens. Trump likes nothing more than being on offense, and his aim would be to put his accusers on trial.
Already the president has named three people he wants grilled, starting with Hunter Biden and his lucrative gig on the board of Burisma, a corrupt Ukrainian energy company, while his father was vice president.
Some sample questions Hunter Biden can expect:
- Is it true you were discharged from the Navy for cocaine use months before being named to Burisma in 2014?
- Do you speak Ukrainian?
- What do you know about energy exploration and markets?
- How many board meetings did you attend?
- Is it true you were paid more than $3 million over five years?
- How much more?
- Did you discuss the job with your father?
- Did you ask your father to intercede in Ukrainian politics to help Burisma?
Joe Biden is already showing the strains, blasting Sen. Lindsey Graham for asking the State Department for documents relating to Joe Biden’s calls with Ukraine’s then-president and his own documented efforts to oust a prosecutor.
“Lindsey is about to go down in a way that I think he’s going to regret his whole life,” Joe Biden told reporters.
Actually, you would assume Biden might be filled with regret, given the shameful way his son profited from his father’s position.
Moreover, there are legitimate questions about the 2016 anti-Trump campaign waged by Ukrainian officials and oligarchs, which included millions of dollars in contributions to the Clinton Foundation. Were the payments to Hunter Biden and the foundation aimed at buying Democrats’ silence over Ukrainian corruption? What does Joe Biden know about that effort?
Trump also wants to call Schiff, and GOP lawyers believe there is ample precedent. They note that Bill Clinton’s lawyers grilled independent prosecutor Ken Starr during Clinton’s Senate trial.
Schiff acted as chief prosecutor against Trump and his dealings with the whistleblower would make him a key witness to the initial allegations.
Latka has a taxi problem.
……”Stand beside her, and guide her, through the night with A light from above”……